The Golden Blasters 2019

John Vaughan ponder the Golden Blasters

The Golden Blasters is the annual Irish science fiction short film festival, usually held at Octocon. This year we loaned it to Dublin 2019, an Irish Worldcon. The films were shown on Sunday August 18th and the winners announced by Golden Blasters chair John Vaughan and Octocon co-chairs Janet and Raissa at the Worldcon closing ceremony on Monday August 19th.

For only the third time in Golden Blasters history, both the judges’ award for Best Film and the Silver Blaster audience award went to the same film: “Gryphon Animo“, directed by Matthew Maloney.

The Golden Blaster for Best Script went to Lucas Vossoughi for ‘Recurse’.

The Spirit of Festival Award is given to a filmaker who captures the spirit of why the festival was originally set up. The winner was Emmet O’Brien for ‘Hear Hear’.

Another award not always made is the Golden Blaster for Creative Achievement. This year it was presented to William Simpson for his work as the Storyboard Artist for Game of Thrones.

Will Simpson receives his Golden Blaster for Creative Achievement
William Simpson receives his Golden Blaster for Creative Achievement

The founder and chair of the Golden Blasters, John Vaughan, is sadly stepping down for reasons of ill-health. We would like to congratulate and thank him, and his vice-chair Pat Fanning, for all their hard work over the years, and welcome the new chair Adrian Horsman and vice-chair James Brophy who will be taking over for 2020 and beyond.

Worldcon is Over…

The first Irish Worldcon, Dublin 2019, wrapped up on Monday 19th August (or Tuesday 20th, if you made it to the second Dead Dog party), having brought over 5500 fans into Dublin to celebrate all the good things that we love to talk about and see at Octocon!

Highlights include:

  • Meeting so many wonderful people at our fan table in the Forum – friends old and new – and selling quite a few memberships. We’ll see you all in October, where we will definitely be chatting about our experiences of Worldcon.
  • John Vaughan delivering yet another dreadful film from the Vault of Horror: “The Swarm” (1978).
The 2019 Golden Blaster award for Best Film - etched glass
  • An excellent discussion on The Monster’s Perspective with regular guests and former Guests of Honour Pat Cadigan, Emma Newman, Peter Morwood and Oisin McGann, moderated by our co-chair Janet O’Sullivan.
  • The Golden Blasters film festival, with the winners announced during the closing ceremony by John and co-chairs Janet and Sakura – they were even introduced by Eoin Colfer!

It was a convention full of pride and delight for the many of us who had worked for hours, days, months and year to help bring it into existence, with more than a few tears shed as well as celebratory pints shared in the fan bar named after recently-deceased fan and friend Martin Hoare.

The sign for Martin's Bar at Dublin 2019, an Irish Worldcon
The sign for Martin’s Bar at Dublin 2019, an Irish Worldcon

You can catch up with us more at Titancon, the 2019 Eurocon in Belfast (Thursday 22nd – Sunday 25th August); and we hope to see you at the Crowne Plaza Hotel Blanchardstown in October!

Nearly Halfway Through Worldcon

Dublin 2019, an Irish Worldcon, is well underway, and the Octocon table in the Forum has been busy!

Visit us to buy your membership or one of our limited edition bottle-opening keychains or magnets.
(Octopus and co-chairs Sakura and Janet not for sale.)

And if you come to Octocon presents The Vault of Horror (Saturday), The Monster’s Perspective or The Golden Blasters (Sunday) – or buy a membership – then you’ll receive one of our exclusive ribbons to stick on your con badge!

Early Announcement: 2020 Guest of Honour

Octocon is already laying plans for our 30th anniversary convention in 2020, and we already have our first Guest of Honour – someone who happens to have been to every single Octocon!

Michael Carroll

Michael Carroll, sitting on the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms

In his own words….

Tragically bus-wrecked at a tender age and stranded alone in the southern wilds of Dublin, Michael Carroll was adopted by feral leprekittens who taught him how to survive by hunting for small prey. He was rescued by a passing explorer who, by chance, was the owner and proprietor of a large fleet of science fiction trucks that cruised the land with their merry jingles attracting earnest young readers keen to exchange their hard-stolen pennies for the latest Bradbury or Asimov or Silverberg novel. Thus, raised on a steady diet of classic SF, and the occasional injured vole, Michael was well-placed for a career as a Science Fiction writer, which he hopes will begin any day now.

Michael still lives in Ireland’s capital city of Dublin, which he shares with his adorable wife Leonia, two cats, and a couple of million strangers. He has written a number of books, but then that is a very dodgy statement because you could also say that he has eaten a number of helicopters (in such a case, of course, that number would be zero). Among the books he has actually written are the New Heroes series of Young Adult superhero novels and the #1 Amazon best-selling cult graphic novel Judge Dredd: Every Empire Falls. He currently writes comic strips for 2000AD and Judge Dredd Megazine. Other works include Jennifer Blood for Dynamite Entertainment, Razorjack for Titan Books (co-written with artist John Higgins), the Rico Dredd trilogy for Abaddon Books, for whom he has also created the acclaimed Judges series which explores the genesis of the world of Judge Dredd.

For more information, please visit – and read – his website at

Michael will be appearing at Dublin 2019, an Irish Worldcon (15 – 19 August). View his schedule.

2019 Guests: Diane Duane and Peter Morwood

We will be joined at Octocon 2019 by some of our previous Guests of Honour: Diane Duane and Peter Morwood.

If you’re going this week to Dublin 2019, an Irish Worldcon, don’t miss Diane Duane’s many appearances as Guest of Honour!

Diane Duane has been a science fiction and fantasy writer for nearly forty years. Her best known works include her long-running (since 1983) “Young Wizards” series — its (sort of) eleventh and twelfth novels Young Wizards: Lifeboats and Interim Errantry 2: On Ordeal, having come out in 2017.

She’s also known for the nine bestselling Star Trek novels for which, among many other works, she was awarded the Grand Master / lifetime achievement award of the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers.

She is presently working on completing the epic fantasy series begun almost forty years ago with The Door Into Fire, and hopes to publish book 4, The Door Into Starlight, in the near future.

Novelist and screenwriter Peter Morwood was born in Northern Ireland, but has lived in various parts of County Wicklow for more than half his life. He’s been married to fellow-guest Diane Duane for even longer.

Besides his own fantasy series The Book of Years, its prequel series The Clan Wars, the folktale-inspired Tales of Old Russia, several short stories and even a brief venture into comics, he has co-written half a dozen novels with Diane (including one on their honeymoon), as well as episodes for Gargoyles, Spider-Man Unlimited and Batman: The Animated Series, and the award-winning live-action miniseries Dark Kingdom: The Dragon King.

He’s keen on medieval military history and the sharp pointy stuff that involves; he likes foreign travel and the interesting places, foods and drinks that involves; and he does half the cooking and most of the photography for their hobby-foodblogs and

Octocon Presents at Worldcon 2019

This year, two of Octocon’s flagship events will be brought to a bigger audience at Dublin 2019, an Irish Worldcon. We’re also re-running one of last year’s panels, with a line-up featuring some of our regular guests and previous Guests of Honour.

Come to one of these, and you can pick up an exclusive souvenir!

Octocon presents: The Vault of Horror

Saturday August 17th, 5:00pm to 6:50pm, CCD Liffey-B (Second Stage)
The Vault is back and for its fifteenth goryious year (see what we did there) we have decided to share both the fun and horror with the Worldcon. Join your host, award-winning screenwriter and film-maker, John Vaughan as he deconstructs moments from some of the worst films ever made. No film is safe and neither is the audience from the laughter and groans which can be heard when the Vault is opened.
With John Vaughan.

Octocon presents: The Monster’s Perspective

Sunday August 18th, 11:00am to 11:50am, CCD Wicklow Hall 2B
Often fiction is an exploration of the human condition as written from the perspective of the monster, the outsider, the other – the one who is different and so questions things that we might have taken for granted. But who defines who is the monster? Regular Octocon guests and previous Guests of Honour revisit a discussion from Octocon 2018.
With Janet O’Sullivan (moderator), Pat Cadigan, Emma Newman, Peter Morwood and Oisin McGann.

Octocon presents: The Golden Blasters

Sunday August 18th, 2:30pm to 4:20pm, Point Square Odeon 1
Octocon is proud to co-host this year’s Golden Blasters with Dublin 2019. Now in their tenth year, the Blasters are dedicated specifically to the art of the short film and screenplay in the genres of science fiction, horror, and fantasy. Please join us as we show you the finalists for this year’s awards – the winners of which will be decided not only by our panel of judges but also by you, with the coveted Silver Blaster audience award. So be sure to come along and help decide which film will take home this year’s Blaster.
Note: The awards will be announced at the Closing Ceremony on Monday August 19th.
With John Vaughan.

Read a bit more about the Golden Blasters on Dublin 2019’s Facebook page.

Dublin 2019 - An Irish Worldcon

Octocon at Worldcon 2019

The 2019 World Science Fiction Convention arrives in Dublin next week, and Octocon will of course be there! Many of our members and regular guests will be appearing on the programme – too many to list here – and we’ll be having some special Octocon Presents items too.

Octocon will also have a table in the Forum on the ground floor of the CCD, near the exhibits, dealers, creators and other fan tables.

Stop by to say hi and buy this year’s membership!

And if you’re a current member or previous guest, we may have an exclusive little something for you…

Dublin 2019 - An Irish Worldcon

2019 Guests: Peadar Ó Guilín and Ruth Frances Long

Octocon is delighted to announce its first guests for 2019, both of whom know more than a thing or two about the folklore, mythology and fairy tales that we’ll be discussing this year.

Peadar Ó Guilín

Irish writer Peadar Ó Guilín is the author of the YA novel, The Call, inspired by the beautiful northwest of Ireland where he grew up. The Invasion, a sequel to The Call and the end of the duology, was published in March 2018 and is a finallist for the 2019 Lodestar Award for Best Adult Book, to be awarded at Dublin 2019, an Irish Worldcon.

In September 2007, Peadar published his first novel, The Inferior, which the Times Educational Supplement called “a stark, dark tale, written with great energy and confidence and some arresting reflections on human nature.” Foreign editors liked it too, and over the coming year it is to be translated into eight languages, including Japanese and Korean.

His fantasy and SF short stories have appeared in numerous venues, including Black Gate magazine and an anthology celebrating the best of the iconic Weird Tales.

Ruth Frances Long

Ruth Frances Long writes young adult fantasy such as The Treachery of Beautiful Things (Dial, 2012) and The Dubh Linn trilogy set in the world of demons, angels and fairies that exists alongside our own in modern day Dublin (A Crack in Everything , A Hollow in the Hills and A Darkness at the End (O’Brien, 2014-2016)).

In 2015 she was the winner of The European Science Fiction Society Spirit of Dedication Award For Best Author of Children’s Science Fiction and Fantasy for A Crack in Everything.

As Jessica Thorne she writes fantasy and space opera romance – The Queen’s Wing (Bookouture, 2018) and The Stone’s Heart (Bookouture, 2019)

As R. F. Long she writes fantasy & paranormal romance such as The Scroll Thief, Soul Fire and the Holtlands stories (The Wolf’s Sister, The Wolf’s Mate and The Wolf’s Destiny).

She lives in Ireland and works in a library of rare, unusual & occasionally crazy books. But they don’t talk to her that often.

In Memoriam: Martin Hoare

It is with great sadness that the Octocon committee has learned of the death this morning of one of our members, Martin Hoare, in hospital in his hometown of Reading, England.

Martin provided technical equipment and expertise to Octocon for several years, as well as to many other conventions throughout the UK and the rest of Europe, travelling in his red van and accompanied by his stuffed panda Doris. One of his most recent convention gigs allowed him to indulge another of his great passions – real ale – as organiser of the fan bar at Eastercon 2019 in England.

He was given the Doc Weir award in 2015 for being an unsung hero of fandom, and was well-known for his kindness and his sometimes sideways problem-solving.

He will be missed by a great many people and Octocon wishes to express our deepest sympathies to his nearest and dearest.

Thank you for everything, Martin.

Martin Hoare at Shamrokon, August 2019, holding a pint of Portherhouse stout. Picture courtesy of Paul Sheridan.
Picture taken at Shamrokon 2014, courtesy of Paul Sheridan